So, you want to get healthy. You want to start eating organic food. You visit your local Whole Foods. Then you see the prices and freak out. “How can I possibly afford this?” you ask. But before you walk about and head to the drive through for a $1 double cheeseburger, let’s calm down for a second. It’s not really that expensive and you don’t need to go to Whole Foods for everything.
Most “normal” grocery stores these days have some very good options for you at substantially cheaper prices. In fact, I would bet that your local store might even have a special little health food section for weirdos like us. My local grocery chain, Giant Eagle, has a great selection of health food. To be honest, I do at least 60% of my grocery shopping there. They have organic produce including apples, broccoli, lettuce, bananas, strawberries (when in season) and many other choices too. They even have their own brand of organic food called “Nature’s Basket.” A can of organic garbanzo or black beans are a whopping $1. (Yes, I know it’s in a can and not ideal with the BPA, but I’m not a health Nazi and I don’t freak out about it). The store near me has its own little health food department. I can get virtually everything I need there. Cereal, oatmeal, cheese, milk, and even organic snacks are there for me at much lower prices. They even have organic unsweetened iced tea for the high price of $1 per glass bottle. (I then sweeten it with stevia). I can get Quorn there, Ezekiel bread, Dayia Cheese (non dairy), eggs, and so much more.
However, there are some things I can only get at the health food store. For example, if I ate meat, I would ONLY buy my meat there – most “regular” grocery stores do not carry organic meat or beef from grass-fed cows. Some specialty items like my favorite falafel I can’t get at the local grocery store so that’s when I visit the Whole Foods – just to get the stuff I can’t get at Giant Eagle. It works really well and saves me money. I also need the health food store for supplements – my favorite Garden of Life products for instance can’t be bought at the local store and I would encourage you to get your supplements at a health food store too. (By the way, GNC does not count.) But be careful, browsing at Whole Foods is dangerous. Write a list and stick to it. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have gone in, only wanting to get a few things, and walking out with $100 worth of groceries. The temptation is tough, so stick to that list. Get in and get out.
Dr. Josh Axe agrees. He just posted a great video on eating organic without having to run to the ATM. He suggests that you buy in bulk, try your local farmer’s market, buy more expensive organic foods only on special occasions, and to only buy organic when absolutely necessary. Pineapples and grapefruits, he says, have thick skins that protect chemicals from contaminating your food. He has a chart listed that will help you learn what foods you need to buy organic and which ones aren’t as important. Check out the list here. I have also posted his video below on this subject too. Dr. Axe is a pretty cool dude.
If you’re just starting out on your health journey, you can pretty much get everything at the “regular” store. And when you do choose the organic versions there, it’s really not much more expensive. Just give it a try. Your grocery bill will only be slightly more, but it’s worth it. Even if you’re addicted to chocolate (like me) you can splurge and get an organic bar of the dark stuff. My local store has virtually everything I need (and then some). Don’t let high prices at the health food store scare you away from being healthy. You don’t need to be a hippie health food junkie to eat like one.